The medical issue Alex was suffering from actually had nothing to do with his mental wit, but was rather an issue of hearing: Alex suffered from a deformity in his inner ear known as Mondini dysplasia alongside a separate and progressive condition, Enlarged Vestibular Aqueduct.
In short, this meant Alex was profoundly deaf in his right ear and moderately deaf in the left. More alarmingly, it meant that a simple bump on the head or sudden change in pressure would cause even further hearing loss.
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